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Love triangle men in court

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK man who became involved in his friend's love triangle became the victim of a terrifying ordeal.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that two best friends became so angry when a mate tried to drive a wedge between them with tales of their mutual lover that they took him on a nightmare journey.

A SUFFOLK man who became involved in his friend's love triangle became the victim of a terrifying ordeal.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that two best friends became so angry when a mate tried to drive a wedge between them with tales of their mutual lover that they took him on a nightmare journey.

Jeremy Dugdale, prosecuting, said the victim in the case James Cracknell was friends with the defendants Benjamin Birrell and Kevin Offord, both 22.

He said that last April Birrell's girlfriend Katie Pink had confided to Mr Cracknell that she had slept with Birrell's best friend Offord.

The court heard that Mr Cracknell kept the secret until September when "his tongue had loosened with drink and he told Benjamin that Kevin had slept with Katie".

On September 16 Birrell and his friend Liam Chipchase spoke to Mr Cracknell in a Bury St Edmunds pub and told him they wanted to speak to him privately.

The three men got into Mr Chipchase's black BMW and drove out of Bury.

Mr Cracknell became alarmed, the court heard, and more so when Offord began to follow them in his red BMW car.

Mr Dugdale said: "Mr Cracknell then realised he had been set up and was going to be attacked."

Mr Dugdale said eventually the car was stopped near an industrial estate and Mr Chipchase and Offord swapped driving seats. Offord and Birrell drove off with Mr Cracknell, the court heard.

Mr Dugdale added: "He asked them to stop and he was threatened."

The car stopped in a lay-by and Mr Cracknell managed to escape by running over some fields to a house where he arrived "very shaken and upset".

Offord, of Beyton and Birrell of Pakenham, admitted using threatening behaviour towards Mr Cracknell.

Judge Nicholas Beddard ordered pre-sentence reports and told the defendants they would be sentenced on March 18. He released them on conditional bail and said although they would not be sent to prison all the court's other sentencing options were open.

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